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Instructional Materials FAQ

Instructional Materials Funding and Williams Case Frequently Asked Questions and Answers.

California law and regulations

  1. Where can I find California Education Code online?
  2. Where can I find the California Code of Regulations online?

Content Standards and Curriculum Frameworks

  1. What are “content standards”?

    Educational content standards describe what students should know and be able to do in each subject at each grade. In California, the SBE decides upon and adopts the standards for all students, from kindergarten through high school, pursuant to EC sections 60604–60618. Neither the SBE nor the CDE may revise the standards without specific authority provided in law.  SBE-adopted standards for each subject are available on the CDE Content Standards Web page.

  2. What are “curriculum frameworks”?

    Curriculum frameworks offer guidance for implementing content standards. Frameworks describe the curriculum and instruction necessary to help students achieve proficiency, and they specify the design of instructional materials and professional development. Further, they provide guidelines and selected research-based approaches for implementing instruction to ensure optimal benefits for all students. Additional information is available on the Curriculum Framework and Instructional Resources Web page.

Traditional and Electronic Materials

  1. What are "instructional materials?"

    The definition of instructional materials is in EC Section 60010 (h). This law states “‘Instructional materials’ means all materials that are designed for use by pupils and their teachers as a learning resource and help pupils to acquire facts, skills, or opinions or to develop cognitive processes. Instructional materials may be printed or non-printed, and may include textbooks, technology-based materials, other educational materials, and tests."

  2. What are "technology-based materials"?

    The definition of technology-based materials is in EC Section 60010(m)(1). This law states “‘Technology-based materials’ means basic or supplemental instructional materials that are designed for use by pupils and teachers as learning resources and that require the availability of electronic equipment in order to be used as a learning resource. Technology-based materials include, but are not limited to, software programs, video disks, compact disks, optical disks, video and audio tapes, lesson plans, and data bases.”

  3. Does any kind of electronic hardware necessary for running technology-based materials qualify as a component of technology-based materials?
    EC Section 60010(m)(2) addresses this question as follows: “Technology-based materials do not include the electronic equipment required to make use of those materials, unless that equipment is to be used by pupils and teachers as a learning resource. However, this shall not be construed to authorize a school district to replace computers or related equipment in an existing computer lab or allow a school district to establish a new computer lab.”
  4. Is data privacy something a school district should consider when purchasing new instructional materials?

    Absolutely. There are important laws regarding student data privacy that relate directly to the use of instructional materials programs. In most cases, LEAs are solely responsible for ensuring compliance to these laws. For general information about student data privacy, please visit the CDE’s Data Privacy Web page or FERPA Summary Web page. Specific inquiries related to student data privacy can be sent to privacy@cde.ca.gov.

  5. What are “state-adopted” instructional materials?

    “State-adopted” instructional materials are those instructional resources which the SBE has formally “adopted” for use in the classroom. This action is required by the California State Constitution, Article 9 Section 7.5. The SBE considers K-8 instructional materials for adoption following a thorough review process outlined in both law (EC 60200) and regulations (CCR, Title 5 sections 9510-9525).

    There are no state adoptions for grades nine through twelve. LEA governing boards have the authority and responsibility under EC Section 60400 to adopt instructional materials for use in their high schools for grades nine through twelve.

  6. What is your policy on publishers updating their content to remain relevant?

    Once content is submitted for consideration of SBE adoption, the publisher may not alter or amend it except by state-review. There is a formal revision process for state-adopted materials once every two years in which adopted publishers may choose to participate. This process assures school districts that materials on the SBE adoption lists continue to satisfy the SBE-approved evaluation criteria through the life of the adoption period.

    Upgrades of technology-based materials that do not contain content changes (e.g., software or platform upgrades) can be made by publishers without CDE approval, unless the upgrade results in a new ISBN or identifier (5 CCR 9529(b)).

  7. What is the policy on publishers providing links to Web sites when Web sites have content that is continually updated?

    Programs may include links to outside resources so long as they are identified as not being part of the adopted content. Any linked information to be considered a part of the program must be included in the review process and available during the full term of the adoption.

Local Adoption of Instructional Materials

  1. Must LEAs use only state-adopted instructional materials?

    No. New for 2013, EC Section 60210 was added via AB 1246 (Brownley). It states the following:

    “(a) Notwithstanding any other law, a local educational agency may use instructional materials that are aligned with the academic content standards adopted pursuant to Section 60605 or 60605.8, including instructional materials that have not been adopted by the state board pursuant to Section 60200.

    (b) Instructional materials for mathematics that are aligned to common core academic content standards developed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative consortium pursuant to Section 60605.7 shall be deemed to be aligned to the content standards adopted pursuant to Section 60605 or 60605.8 for purposes of Section 60119.

    (c) If a local educational agency chooses to use instructional materials that have not been adopted by the state board, the local educational agency shall ensure that a majority of the participants of any review process conducted by the local educational agency are classroom teachers who are assigned to the subject area or grade level of the materials.”

    LEAs may also utilize supplemental resources that meet the requirements of the social content standards requirements.

  2. What is the schedule for California’s adoption of new instructional materials?
  3. When do the current state adoption lists for instructional materials expire? 

    Once the SBE adopts instructional materials for a particular subject, those materials remain on the list of adopted materials for that subject until such time that the SBE adopts a new list of instructional materials for that subject (EC 60200(h)).

  4. Do LEAs have a requirement to provide students with state-adopted instructional materials within a certain period of time?

    No. As seen in FAQ #12 above, LEAs are not required by law to implement state-adopted instructional materials.

    Note that the laws requiring sufficiency of instructional materials for all students remain in full effect. See the related FAQ section below.

  5. Where can one view a listing of all state-adopted instructional materials?

    SBE-adopted full programs can be found at each of the following links:

    Every adopted component of each SBE-adopted program can be found in the searchable online database Price Lists of K-8 Adopted Instructional Materials.

  6. Will the instructional materials that publishers send to the Learning Resource Display Centers (LRDCs) stay at those locations for the life of the adoption?

    The CDE asks LRDCs to display materials for two years following an SBE adoption.

    Visit the LRDCs Web page for LRDC locations.

  7. Will the CDE create a toolkit for districts to use when considering materials for adoption?

    No. Such toolkits are often created by county offices of education to support their local districts. Additionally, Achieve has produced the Toolkit for Evaluating the Alignment of Instructional and Assessment Materials to the Common Core State Standards External link opens in new window or tab.. Additionally, the SBE has a policy document “Guidelines for Piloting Textbooks and Instructional Materials” (DOC).

  8. What role does a local board have in selecting instructional materials for a district?

    California EC Section 240 requires that “Governing boards of school districts shall adopt instructional materials in accordance with the provisions of Section 60040” (Section 60040 relates to social content standards).

  9. Can parents, guardians and or members of the community have any input on a district’s selection of instructional materials?

    EC Section 60002 states the following: “Each district board shall provide for substantial teacher involvement in the selection of instructional materials and shall promote the involvement of parents and other members of the community in the selection of instructional materials.”

  10. What guidance exists for districts ready to pilot instructional materials under consideration for local adoption?

    The SBE has adopted a policy document, entitled “Guidelines for Piloting Textbooks and Instructional Materials,” (DOC) which was updated for 2015.

  11. Can instruction in and of itself be a valid substitution for instructional materials?

    No. EC Section 60010(h) defines “Instructional materials” as follows: materials that are designed for use by pupils and their teachers as a learning resource and help pupils to acquire facts, skills, or opinions or to develop cognitive processes. Instructional materials may be printed or non-printed, and may include textbooks, technology-based materials, other educational materials, and tests.

  12. Can an LEA develop, or otherwise obtain, instructional materials throughout the year during which they are being utilized?

    No. EC Section 60119 stipulates that by the end of the eighth week of school the local board shall make a determination, through a resolution, as to whether each pupil in the school district has instructional materials that are aligned to the content standards and that are consistent with the content and cycles of the curriculum framework adopted by the SBE for: (i) Mathematics; (ii) Science; (iii) History-social science; (iv) English language arts, including the English language development component of an adopted program.

    In order for the local board to make this determination, the complete program must be available.

Instructional Materials Funding/LCFF

  1. What fund sources may LEAs use to purchase instructional materials?

    To purchase instructional materials, LEAs may use Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) funds or proposition 20 lottery funds.

  2. Are there CDE guidelines on the use of LCFF?
    Yes, please visit the CDE LCFF Web page.
  3. Does state law regulate the cost of instructional materials in California?

    Yes. California law, (EC Section 60061) states the following: Yes. California law, (EC Section 60061) states the following:

    (a) A publisher or manufacturer shall do all of the following:

    (1) Furnish the instructional materials offered by the publisher at a price in this state that, including all costs of transportation to that place, does not exceed the lowest price at which the publisher offers those same instructional materials for adoption or sale to any other state within, or territory of, the United States.

    (2) Automatically reduce the price of those instructional materials to any governing board to the extent that reductions are made in another state within, or territory of, the United States.

    (3) Provide any instructional materials free of charge in this state to the same extent as that received by any state or school district in the United States.

    Additionally, the following provision was added to EC Section 60061 in 2013, pursuant to SB 185; it does not change the “most favored nation” clause of (a) (1-2) above:

    (c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to restrict the ability of a school district, county office of education, or charter school within California to negotiate the price of standards-aligned instructional materials and supplemental instructional materials in either a printed or digital format if the negotiated price complies with paragraphs (1) and (2) of subdivision (a).

    EC Section 60060 stipulates that the provisions of EC Section 60061 above apply to all instructional materials offered for sale in California and not just state-adopted materials.

    EC sections 60201 and 60223 allow publishers to raise prices on their state-adopted instructional materials once every two years following the SBE adoption of the materials. Publishers may lower prices at any time.

Initial Receipt and Eventual Disposal of Instructional Materials

  1. Where can an LEA purchase state-adopted instructional materials?

    CCR Section 9530 states the following:

    Each school district shall purchase adopted instructional materials directly from publishers. With respect to the purchase of adopted instructional materials by a school district, the publisher shall comply with the following requirements:

    (a) Instructional materials furnished and delivered to the school district by the publisher shall conform to and be of the same quality of workmanship as the instructional materials submitted for adoption.

    (b) Upon request by any school district, a publisher shall provide a copy of any manufacturing standards and specifications for instructional materials with which the publisher is currently in compliance.

    (c) Should the publisher discontinue an instructional material before its adoption expiration date, upon receipt of a written request from a district that has purchased the discontinued instructional materials, the publisher shall buy back from the school district all of the instructional materials discontinued and any instructional materials designed to be used with the discontinued instructional material. The publisher shall buy back the instructional materials at the price in effect pursuant to the purchase order or agreement at the time when the instructional materials were purchased.

  2. May publishers offer instructional materials to LEAs for free?

    Yes. EC Section 60061 stipulates that a publisher must "Provide any instructional materials free of charge in this state to the same extent as that received by any state or school district in the United States." Links to lists of free instructional materials are available by subject matter and publisher on the Price List of Adopted Instructional Materials Web page. Please note, however, EC Section 60071 forbids publishers from offering "valuable thing(s)" to a school official for the purpose of influencing the purchase of instructional materials.

  3. Is there a penalty against publishers should their delivery of materials be late?

    EC Section 60061.5 states that a publisher or manufacturer shall “…(b) Guarantee delivery of textbooks and instructional materials prior to the opening of school in the year in which the textbooks and instructional materials are to be used if they are ordered by a date or dates specified in the contract with the district.”

  4. What should an LEA do with surplus or obsolete instructional materials?

    California law makes specific stipulations regarding the disposal of instructional materials as follows:

    EC Section 60510. The state board, the governing board of a school district, or a county office of education may dispose of surplus or undistributed obsolete instructional materials in its possession that are usable for educational purposes in any of the following ways:

    (a) By donation to a governing board, county free library, or other state institution.

    (b) By donation to a public agency or institution of any territory or possession of the United States, or the government of a country that formerly was a territory or possession of the United States.

    (c) By donation to a nonprofit charitable organization.

    (d) By donation to children or adults in the State of California, or foreign countries for the purpose of increasing the general literacy of the people.

    (e) By sale.

    EC Section 60511. Any organization, agency, or institution receiving obsolete instructional materials donated pursuant to this article shall certify to the governing board of the school district or the county board of education, as appropriate, that it agrees to make no charge of any kind to the persons to whom the organization gives or lends those materials.

Sufficiency of Instructional Materials

  1. Do the requirements regarding instructional materials sufficiency continue to exist?

    School districts and county offices of education are required to prepare a Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP). The LCAP must address actions to achieve state priorities, including “the degree to which every pupil…has sufficient access to the standards-aligned instructional materials as determined pursuant to EC section 60119.” Please visit the CDE FAQs related to LCFF.
    For information regarding transitional kindergarten, please visit the Transitional Kindergarten FAQs.

  2. What does "sufficiency of instructional materials" mean?

    EC Section 60119(c)(1) states that sufficient textbooks or instructional materials means, "each pupil, including English Learners, has a standards-aligned textbook or instructional materials, or both, to use in class and to take home. This paragraph does not require two sets of textbooks or instructional materials for each pupil." This specifically applies to four subject areas: reading/language arts, mathematics, science, and history-social science.

  3. 33. Do the requirements regarding instructional materials sufficiency apply to technology-based materials?

    Yes.

  4. Do Web-based or electronic textbooks count as instructional materials?

    Yes, but in order to meet the definition of sufficient instructional materials students need to have access to the materials both at school and at home. This presumes that students with Web-based materials have access to computers and the Internet in school and at home and students with electronic textbooks have access to computers in school and at home.

  5. Schools believed that the state-adopted kindergarten through grade six (K-6) reading/language arts materials met the science and history-social science standards, so therefore they did not have to buy K-6 science or history-social science textbooks, is this true?

    No. The programs mentioned were adopted as reading/language arts/English language development programs. K-6 students must have science and history-social science instructional materials in addition to reading/language arts.

  6. May an LEA purchase the Big Books for use in class and a Student Practice Book for every student and be compliant with the requirements of the Williams settlement?

    LEAs should determine and specify in their sufficiency resolutions those materials which meet the definition of sufficiency. EC Section 60119 defines "sufficient textbooks or instructional materials" to mean that each pupil, including English learners, has a standards-aligned textbook or instructional materials, or both, to use in class and to take home.” If an LEA determines that the Practice Book covers all of the standards, and so indicates in its sufficiency resolution, it may provide the practice books for each student to use in class and to take home. In this circumstance, the LEA is not required to buy an individual textbook for each student.

  7. If a local governing board approves a series of novels and a grammar book for high school English courses, is this acceptable?

    Yes, as long as the local board adopted that combination of materials as being standards-aligned. LEAs will have to determine whether each pupil has sufficient instructional materials for those courses, including sufficient numbers of novels that can be reasonably rotated among pupils.

  8. Must an LEA utilize all instructional material components of a core grade level academic program to meet the Williams settlement legislation requirement?

    Each LEA determines which components to purchase based on its students' needs and to insure that all of the state content standards in that subject and grade level are addressed; this fact is true whether or not the LEA is utilizing state-adopted materials for any of the four core subjects identified in EC Section 60119. (The CDE Web site Price Lists of K-8 Adopted Instructional Materials has lists of the state-adopted K-8 instructional materials.)

  9. What about special education students and English learners? Are there any exceptions?

    Special education resource students should be enrolled in mainstream core classes and should have textbooks or basic instructional materials in the four core subject areas. Students in special day classes or other types of special education programs that are segregated from the mainstream classroom should have sufficient quantities of the instructional materials required in that student's Individualized Education Program (IEP), which has been established and agreed to by the teachers and parents of that student. Special day students' IEPs may require modified instructional materials instead of, or in addition to, the adopted instructional materials or may require adopted instructional materials that are aligned to the content standards at a different grade level. The Williams settlement legislation does not circumvent IEPs. Instructional materials for students not in mainstreamed special education classes should be based on the student's IEP. English Learners are explicitly mentioned in the law and must have adopted textbooks in the four core subject areas, including the English language development component of an adopted program.

  10. What materials should be provided to our English learners?

    English learners must be provided standards-aligned instructional materials. For grades K-8 these may be state-adopted instructional materials in mathematics, science, reading/language arts, and history-social science that are consistent with the content and cycles of the curriculum frameworks and include universal access features that address the needs of English learners. For grades nine through twelve local governing boards should adopt standards-aligned materials for all students that include universal access features.

  11. If an LEA has insufficient instructional materials, what does it need to do?

    See EC Section 60119 (a)(2)(A). The LEA must provide information to classroom teachers and the public setting forth for each school in which there is an insufficiency:

    • The percentage of pupils who lack sufficient standards-aligned textbooks or instructional materials in each subject area
    • The reasons that each pupil does not have sufficient instructional materials.
    • The LEA must then take action to ensure that each pupil has sufficient instructional materials within two months of the beginning of the school year.
  12. When does an LEA need to remedy any insufficiency in instructional materials?

    The LEA will be expected to remediate any insufficiency of instructional materials within two months of the beginning of the school year. If an LEA has submitted purchase orders to the publisher to purchase instructional materials to remedy the insufficiency, these materials should be received and in students’ hands by the end of the second month of the school year (EC Section 60119 (a)(2)(A)).

Public Hearing for Sufficiency of Instructional Materials

  1. What are the hearing and resolution requirements regarding sufficiency of instructional materials?

    EC Section 60119 requires that local governing boards hold an annual public hearing and adopt a resolution (DOC) stating whether each pupil in the LEA has sufficient textbooks or instructional materials in reading/language arts, mathematics, science, and history-social science aligned to content standards and consistent with the content and cycles of the curriculum framework adopted by the SBE.

    The governing board must also make a written determination as to whether each pupil enrolled in health and foreign language classes has sufficient textbooks or instructional materials.

    The governing board must also determine the availability of science laboratory equipment for high school science laboratory classes.

    There must be at least ten calendar days notice of the public hearing posted in at least three public places within the LEA. The notice must state the time, place, and purpose of the hearing. The hearing must not be held during or immediately after school hours.

    Governing boards are to encourage participation by parents, teachers, members of the community, and bargaining unit leaders in the hearing.

    If the local governing board finds that there are insufficient materials it must do the following:

    • Give the percentage of students in each school and subject that lack sufficient instructional materials
    • Provide information to classroom teachers and to the public that sets forth the reasons why each pupil does not have sufficient textbooks or instructional materials
    • Take action to insure that each pupil has sufficient instructional materials within two months of the start of the school year

    This public hearing and resolution are required annually. LEAs should keep the resolution on file for the LEA’s annual audit.

  2. When does the public hearing need to be held?

    The public hearing must be held between the first day that pupils attend school and the end of the eighth week of the school year. For multi-track year-round LEAs, the clock starts with the first day pupils attend school in any track that begins in August or September. The public hearing may not take place during or immediately following school hours (EC Section 60119 (b)).

  3. What documentation or evidence of adequate materials purchased do we need to present or have ready for monitoring?

    Beyond the required local board resolution, EC Section 60119 does not require specific documentation of sufficiency of instructional materials. However, the CDE has developed survey forms that may be used as a self-study and county office validation tool for grades K-12. This includes a list of the state-adopted standards-aligned programs for K-8. LEAs with high schools, grades nine through twelve, may generate a list of their locally adopted standards-aligned instructional materials information.

  4. How should an LEA document that it has sufficient materials in grades K-8 as defined in the instructional materials survey form?

    Current law calls for an LEA to have sufficient materials that are aligned to the standards adopted by the SBE and that are consistent with the content and cycles of the curriculum frameworks. In the standards-based areas of history-social science, reading/language arts, science, and mathematics, an LEA may choose to provide a number of ways of documenting how its materials are consistent with a current curriculum framework. See FAQ #48 for links to standards maps.

  5. What do we do if we did not hold the public hearing as required by EC Section 60119?
    LEA audits include the reporting requirements for the sufficiency of textbooks and instructional materials as defined by EC Section 60119. If an LEA receives an audit finding the LEA should contact the county office of education regarding their ability to certify correction of the audit exception.

    Also note EC Section 41344.4 which states the following regarding an audit finding:

    Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a local educational agency is not required to repay an apportionment based on a significant audit exception related to the requirements specified in paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) of subdivision (b) of Section 14501 if the county superintendent of schools certifies to the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Controller that the audit exception was corrected by the local educational agency or that an acceptable plan of correction was submitted to the county superintendent of schools pursuant to subdivision (k) of Section 41020. With respect to textbooks and instructional materials, the plan shall be consistent with the requirements of subparagraph (A) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 60119.
  6. What are "standards Maps"?

    The grade level content standards maps were developed so that LEAs could determine the extent to which basic instructional materials in history–social science, mathematics, English language arts/English language development and science are aligned to the content standards adopted by the SBE.

    Publishers of K-8 instructional materials submitted for state adoption complete standards maps for their programs by including citations that show where in their program each standard is taught. Copies of the standards map templates are on the CDE Web site—see links below.

    English/Language Arts/English Language Development Standards Maps
    a. ELA/ELD K–8 Standards Map

    Mathematics, K-8 Standards Maps
    b. Mathematics K–8 Standards Maps

    Science Standards Maps
    c. Science K-8 Standards Maps

    History-Social Science Standards Maps
    d. History-Social Science K-8 Standards Maps

    Grades 9-12 Standards Maps for the Core Content Areas
    e. 9-12 Standards Maps
Questions:   Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division | CFIRD@cde.ca.gov | 916-319-0881
Last Reviewed: Monday, October 16, 2017
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